A couple of months ago, I experienced how life is without owning a car. And no, it wasn’t intentionally.
During a trip from Germany to Belgium we were stuck in a traffic jam. At a certain point, someone wanted to change lanes and hit the back of my car with significant speed. Result: the car was totalled. The most important thing was that no harm was done to the passengers or myself. Of course there was the inconvenience of only having one car at first but due to great family planning and good colleagues, we managed. Our current situation allows us to be car free.
To be honest, not owning a car feels quite liberating. I know…what a contradiction right? However, from a financial point, you know I’m right. You don’t have to worry about money for gas, insurance and taxes. Besides that, the car was 12 years old and more problems started to occur. It came to a point that I simply couldn’t enjoy driving it anymore because I was afraid the car would break down and it was going to cost me big time.
Considering we both weren’t able to use public transport to attend work, we encountered several planning issues. This meant putting extra effort in outlining our schedules. After adapting our daily routine a bit, we noticed it was not terrible to deal with the fact of only owning one car. So we came to an agreement that we should manage with only one car in the future. Or at least try. Even if we have kids someday. Communication between the two of us is excellent and that is why we think it shouldn’t be a problem. I understand that in some areas it’s almost impossible to not have a second car but we’re not settled yet. So when we relocate to a place where we see ourselves with children, we’re definitely going to take the factors distance to stores/work* and public transport into consideration.
One might think why we want to be an one car family? Well, as we certainly could afford a cheap second car, do you have any idea what kind of recurring costs are involved, besides purchasing the vehicle? Below an approximate cost estimation of my previous car:
I spent more than 185 € ($215) on my car each month and this doesn’t even consider replacing tires or bigger costs such as engine problems. If you talk about cutting down your costs, this could be a huge deal. I rather plan some more than spend that kind of money every month.
Germany and I have a very good connection. You see amazing cars on a daily base and on many parts of the “Autobahn”, you can go as fast as you want**. What’s not to like! I’ve always dreamt about owning a nice car. Until we are financially free, we’ll settle for a “normal” car. But who knows, if we have enough money, we might settle for something more luxurious, say Tesla***. Owning only one car gives us more flexibility in deciding what car we want and in what price category. In my eyes, nothing but benefits. Besides that, the real question is…Is an expensive car really going to make us happy? I think we all know the answer to that question…
*Not that work should affect us in the future life in a great deal as we set our goal to reach financial independence in about 12 years.
** When we cross the border from Germany to Belgium, it feels like we’re in traffic. The 120 limit is unbelievably boring.
*** I’m a big fan of Tesla and electric cars in general. As the car sector is evolving at the speed of light, my opinion might chance within a few years.